Monday, July 18, 2005

Turning Off the Light

So now I prepare to turn off the light. The light on my desk. The light on the ceiling. And the light in my brain.

And if you can believe it, it's not even 11:00pm, yet.


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Trudy's Turtle Rescue

Have I told you about Trudy's turtle rescue? I don't think I have.

On our trip down the Buffalo River, we had several breaks. We stopped to switch positions in the canoe and kayak. We stopped to take pictures of some tree roots that looked as if they were flowing from the bank down into the stream. And we stopped for a picnic lunch near a bend in the river.

On one gravel shoal off to the left as we were beaching the boats, there was a large turtle lumbering across the field of round, white stones. When the water is higher, this place would have been submerged, so the turtle probably knew the terrain. It was making a straight line to the river.

It knew where it was, and it knew where it wanted to go.

I thought we were going to leave the turtle alone, but soon after we had disembarked, Trudy turned toward the turtle and walked off with a look of determination in her eyes

I am going to help the turtle, she announced.

She approached it slowly from behind. It stopped and watched her warily, and as she got close it pulled its head into its shell. She picked it up gently and then set it down at the water's edge.

It didn't move, and eventually she came back.

We sat around a little while longer, and eventually the turtle figured we were harmless -- or perhaps that it could dash into the water before another rescue ensued. In any event, it poked its head back out, scrambled the last few inches into the river and then disappeared into the deeps.

Later in the day, Trudy confessed, I think saving the turtle was my favorite part of the canoe trip.

I wonder what the turtle thought.

Buffalo National River, NW Arkansas

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Radio Aspirations

On NPR this afternoon, I heard a piece by Phillip Reeves about a man named Zelmai and the mountain roads of Afghanistan.

For radio journalists, his report should be something to aspire to:

Reeves/The Road from Pakistan to Afghanistan: He's a big man with large, expressive eyes beneath formidible, black brows and a large, expressive grin beneath a formidible, black beard. Such features are not oncommon among his kind, the Pashtuns of Afghanistan...

Zelmai wears his beard long. My Afghan friends say this is considered the sign of a man who's contemplative -- something of a sage. In Kabul, Zelmai does seem like that, but not up in these hills...

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